Rifle to get City Market gas station
Citizen Telegram Editor
What has been the top gripe of Rifle residents for what seems like forever — gasoline prices that are always the highest in the region — will get some relief next year.
City Market plans to open a discount gasoline station at the corner of 14th Street and Railroad Avenue, across from the grocery store, Rifle Regional Economic Development Corp. President Michael Langhorne said Monday.
Langhorne said the economic development group negotiated a $600,000 sale of the property, planned as the 14th Street Marketplace several years ago but never pursued when the economic downturn happened, from its Aspen-area owners to City Market.
“About three years, City Market had some interest in this but the offer fell apart,” Langhorne said. “There was a lot of ill will that developed, and then two years ago, we were asked to step in.”
The sale closed on Thursday, he said, but construction work will likely be delayed until spring due to winter weather.
City Market offers customers Value Card “fuel points” on each purchase, which accumulate and can be used at City Market, King Soopers, Shell and other participating gas stations for discounts on each gallon of gas. For every 100 fuel points, 10 cents per gallon is awarded.
Langhorne said having a City Market gas station with discounted prices can help Rifle establish itself as a regional economic center.
“The closest ones now are in Summit County and Grand Junction,” he noted. “And City Market believes they will get more customers in their grocery store, which will mean more sales tax revenue for the city.”
A City Market real estate official was not immediately available for comment Monday afternoon.
The project — with six gas pumps and a kiosk — has already received city approvals, Langhorne said. It will occupy one of three lots on the site, with further commercial development on the other two parcels a possibility, he added.
As part of the sales process, Langhorne said the Kroger Corp., owners of City Market, agreed to join the economic development group with a $35,000 corporate membership. That money will go into the group’s revolving loan fund, Langhorne added, which is available to help small businesses in Rifle.
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“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.”